Lot 16
  • 16

Niccolò Circignani, called Il Pomarancio

5,000 - 7,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Niccolò Circignani, called Il Pomarancio
  • Study of a group of figures, two carrying crosses
  • Red chalk;
    bears inscription in brown ink, bottom centre: y3 / Di mr Niccolao Pomaranci and verso: di Gottantino di Servi


Dr. Michel Gaud,
his sale, Monaco, Sotheby's, 20 June 1987, lot 41,
Acquired at the above sale by A. Alfred Taubman 

Catalogue Note

This refined red chalk sheet has a traditional attribution to Niccolò Circignani. At the time of the Gaud sale in 1987, it was plausibly suggested that it could be a preliminary study, discarded, for the artist’s frescoes of The Miracle of the True Cross, painted circa 1582 for the Oratorio del Crocifisso, Rome, or for a later decoration of the same subject in the Chapel of St. Elena, within the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Rome.  A pen and ink compositional study, with differences, preparatory for the right-hand side wall of the Oratorio del Crocifisso, is at the British Museum.1 

Helena was the mother of Emperor Constantine, to whom an angel was said to have appeared in a dream.  The angel revealed to Helena the True Cross on which Christ was crucified and invited her to travel to the Holy Land in order to find it.

1. Inv. no. 1946-7-13-233; see J.A. Gere and P. Pouncey, Artists working in Rome, c. 1550 to c. 1640, London, 1984, vol. I, no. 65, reproduced vol. II, pl. 61, recto